It doesn’t have to make sense, does it?
With the win, the Blackhawks move to 6-1 when playing on the tail end of back-to-back games for reasons that defy explanation.
Two players were largely responsible for the Chicago victory: goaltender Robin Lehner early on, then star forward Patrick Kane for the rest of the night.
How it happened
It started with Kane, too, who took off on a 2-on-1 during the game’s first minute and fired a perfect pass to Alex Nylander, who turned the odd-man rush into a goal and silenced some of his critics with a solid performance in all zones against the Jets.
Lehner took a starring role for the next 39 minutes, especially in the second period. The Blackhawks were outshot 14-3 in the second period, but Lehner stopped them all, making 30 saves through the first two periods to keep the Blackhawks ahead 1-0.
Chicago struck again in the first minute of the third period, when Patrick Kane forced a turnover in the Winnipeg zone and hit Dominik Kubalik with a pass that sent the rookie in all alone on Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. Kubalik’s quick wrister beat Hellebuyck through the 5-hole for 2-0 Chicago lead.
Four minutes later, Winnipeg scored when Tucker Poolman found an open spot in the offensive zone and fired a one-timer past Lehner.
You know the drill from here: the Blackhawks would fail to hold a multi-goal lead in the third period, the goaltender would face a zillion shots and Chicago would lose another disappointing game.
Except, the complete opposite happened.
The Blackhawks started controlling the play after Winnipeg’s lone tally and, following a too many men penalty on the Jets, Erik Gustafsson one-timed a shot into the net for a power play goal that restored the Blackhawks two-goal advantage.
Then Kane put the finishing touches on this impressive Blackhawks victory with an absolute snipe past Hellebuyck to complete a four-point performance (one goal, three assists).
Only one negative to mention: forward Brandon Saad left the game in the second period with an apparent lower-body injury and did not return.
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 goal, 3 assists
- Robin Lehner (CHI) — 36 saves
- Alex Nylander (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
The Blackhawks continue their current road trip on Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche.